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MANNERS AN13 MORALS. 103
- - And Prompt Me " , Hence Plain And , ...
are now only talked about , not acted upon . Manners , from being the index of virtuehave become , the mask of vice .
, ; This tendency of manners to _o _^^ _tstrip morals is , surely , a matter to be noted .. It is only in the earlier stages of the disease that it
can be dealt with . Prevention , not cure , must be the aim . True m anners are to morals as cleanliness to bodily health . False
manners are as deleterious cosmetics , overlaying impurity and poisoning the blood . Once used , the natural bloom and freshness
of the skin is injured ; they can no more be laid aside ; all that can be done is to spread over the deepening- wrinkles ever a thicker
coating . When the . ground beneath is all hollowit is a perilous thing to
, disturb the thin surface . When manners have become false and morals corrupt , how shall we attempt to bring manners back to
their pristine truth and honesty ? It is like digging among the rank vegetation which covers some huge grave of pestilence . The
noxious effluvium , long pent , will rise and destroy all before it . . Truth is truth and a lie a lie , no doubt , and hypocrisy the worst
of sins ; but it is better that the sinners should consummate their own doom by added hypocrisy , than that the example of their open
vice should contaminate the last remnants of purity . Even the _jsense of shame in vice itself is as a lingering reminiscence to the
fallen angel of the lost Heaven . Decency , however much mixed with lies , is , to the last , a good .
Since , then , it is most perilous , if not impossible , to bring back manners to their legitimate honesty when they have become utterly
and connrmedly dishonest ; all care should be taken to measure accurately the proportion which manners bear to morals in each
age . Prevention , not cure . The shams should be detected and exposed as they arise , and not suffered to take their place in the
code of manners as realities . Over-fastidiousness , like luxury , is an illegitimate offspring of advancing civilization ; like luxury , it
becomes a necessity when it has once gained the ascendancy . Both , diverging from the true course of civilization , pursue after a
time a retrograde path . ' Luxury ends in enervation , over-fastidiousiiess in impurity ; both help to consummate the ruin of the
community where they are suffered to gain ground . The signs of the present time are , on the whole , hopeful .
Though there are instances enough of false manners , yet there is evidently a spirit of reaction and reform at work . . If the
conventional standards of certain virtues are low , we , at all events , know and confess that they are low . The rising generation , stirred
up by men of force , such as Carlyle and Kingsley and others of other schools—the rising generationthough their unwonted
spe-. culations a great realit be as y , yet having somewhat great yeast duties y , ' , have ; that come ther to e see are that lc eternal life is
verities . therewith , " . The that chang social © intercourse in the philoso is to p hy carried of life is marvellous conformity .
Manners An13 Morals. 103
MANNERS AN 13 MORALS . 103
English Woman’s Journal (1858-1864), Oct. 1, 1862, page 103, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/ewj/issues/ewj_01101862/page/31/